A 4G feature phone, popularly known as a dumb device is the new expected reality to be launched by Reliance Jio in the arena of the phone market. Reliance Industries is currently in a two year-old partnership with Chinese mobile chip maker Spreadtrum Communications which claims to be working on at least halving the prices from current levels. The developmental experts believe this price reduction could deter consumers to shift from feature phones to smartphones.
In a report by Economic Times, the country head of Spreadtrum Communications Neeraj Sharma stated,
We are working on a technology that makes a Rs 1,500 4G feature phone viable. We have already started concept promotions to our partners.
This statement is in line with rumours that Reliance Jio is planning the launch of 4G VoLTE enabled feature phones that will be available in two variants, priced between ₹999 and ₹1,500. Reliance is expected to use the newly developed Spreadtrum chipsets for these feature phones. However, Reliance Jio is also in talks with other chip manufacturers — Qualcomm and MediaTek for cheap 4G LTE enabled processors.
Reliance Jio’s entry in the Indian telecom sector late last year has caused a massive upheaval and pushed existing giants like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, and Vodafone to launch competitive plans to maintain their hold on the existing customer. Since its launch in September 2016, Reliance Jio has amassed 100 million users — and gained over 72.4 million subscribers for its Prime subscription service. With the launching of a new Jio feature phone, expectations for this telecom company can only be expected to soar above what it already is today.
The entry of Jio into the phone industry under its own LYF brand has not only pressurised telecom competitors but has also resulted in chipset and phone makers providing their products at lower prices to take advantage of the fast 4G network roll-out. Jio’s robust network ensures that feature phones with 4G connectivity will continue to be one of the most popular options for customers in India throughout 2017, according to financial services firm JP Morgan.
Spreadtrum Communication’s country head Neeraj Sharma further added,
The market has completely shifted from 3G to 4G in the last six months and with a disruptive technology, vendors should attune their go-to market strategies.
Jio is trying to ensure that LTE feature phones should be attractively packaged and marketed through specific targeting in tier III locations as well as rural areas, keeping in line with the growing data market.